Colombia’s air force rescued more than 50 people from the Caribbean island of Providencia that was all but completely destroyed by Hurricane Iota.
A military air plane that dropped off the first four metric tons of humanitarian aid to the small island near Nicaragua also Gave a lift to 51 people, mostly tourists, to the nearby island of San Andres.
In Colombia, people have taken the initiative to start donation campaigns as the category five Hurricane, according to locals, left almost no building without damage.
The first images
The restauration challenges ahead
President Ivan Duque, who flew to the island to personally inspect the damage, said that two people were killed and approximately 80% of the homes on the island were destroyed on Sunday when the hurricane passed.
The president had on Monday already said that virtually the entire infrastructure infrastructure of Providencia was destroyed.
Among the first priorities of the approximately 190 members of the Navy who are on their way to the island is to set up a temporary hospital and repair the destroyed electricity grid, said Duque.
Housing Minister Jonathan Malagon said “all homes in Providencia will be revised and restored by the national government.”
The government has yet to decide on how much budget to allocate for the ambitious restauration plans.
“Recovery is going to take years”
The president vowed to reconstruct the remote island in 100 days, which Representative Jose Mendez of the San Andres province considered optimistic.
“The recovery is going to take years,” Mendez said on Monday.
“Providencia was left destroyed,” the lawmaker told newspaper El Espectador, adding that also San Andres suffered considerable damage.
There’s major damage in the northeast of the island where the sea took a large part of the road and left that area is isolated. There are also schools with the walls destroyed and hundreds of fallen trees, which are crossed and cables have been knocked down, as well as dozens of posts on the ground. All of this has caused 60% of the island to be without power. However, none of this compares to the damage in Providence.
House Representative Jorge Mendez
According to Mendez, San Andres has suffered damage from multiple hurricanes throughout history, but the destruction caused by Hurricane Iota is unprecedented.